Aug 31, 2010

Funny Signs...just when I think I have seen it all!

I am not an advertising guru or any kind of a guru for that matter.  I just know what amuses me.  I see signs like this all the time and wonder "Are they just....?"  These had me giggling.  It was the misspelling/mistakes/humor that caught my eye.  So do you suppose that people misspell things just for that very reason?  Could be.
Sign painter was plumb tuckered out!
Frank was very frank!
Frank really sells hotdogs!
There is a place you can buy funny road signs so it must be very common.
There was Nothing on this sign...Arizona's finest!
Is Gary in Business or just having fun?
Open for 24 hours in 1935!
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Aug 30, 2010

Beautiful Condominiums....links for decorating ideas + ++!

small flower...big impact!
So you have purchased that beautiful condominium in the city...maybe not that big.  Should you give up stylish?  I don't think so.   Retirement (55 living) can be all about style.  Downsizing or beginning small does not mean we have to live in a cluttered and less than stylish space.  I have a few links I have been gathering that give us a better image of retirement style (even clothes girls!) and living in a small space.  I thought I would give you the list of links so you can use it as a reference:
Advanced Style  I have no idea how I found this website but when I did it went onto my link list immediately.  The blog, as I understand it, began as a emulation of a blog from New York called The Satorialist (listed as one of the the top 100 design influences by Time Magazine).  Advanced Style and Satorialist writers photographs people on the street...generally beautifully dressed.  Advanced Style was born with a theme..."You are never to old to be beautiful."  You will love it!
Small Place Style  What a wonderful blog site!!! When they say one picture is worth a thousand words the truth has been spoken.  This is a discovery I will save so I can return often.
Apartment Therapy  This is a great site that keeps us abreast of what is going on in small spaces by posting photographs from readers around the country.  I have used several of these ideas myself.
The Kitchen  This blog is included in the tabs at Apartment Therapy.  Living small does not mean we need to give up a wonderful kitchen...even a very small one.  Gadgets, easy food preparation and cool tools are still ours to enjoy. The Cool Kitchen Contest pictures are worth a look...dreaming is always possible!
Re-Nest  This is a site that allows us to dream about a remodel or a new (old) purchase while staying GREEN.  Those of us that are retired came from a generation of savers/reusers!  This is perfect for us.
Unplugged  If you are a techno buff you know that when you live in a small space you need to be very creative...this is the website for you! 
Style At Home  This is a magazine website from a magazine published in Canada...the land of Candice Olson and many other wonderful designers.  I love this magazine and the website has a feature that allows you to clip the idea they post and save them in a folder on your desktop for future reference. 
Design Blog List   If you just want to roam around in the design world this is a page of links that will keep you busy...forever. 
Martha Stewart   Need I say more...there is always a wonderful idea from her people!

I am adding to this list time permits.  Do you live in a small stylish awesome place???  Let me know by leaving a link in the comments section.  I would love to visit you.


Aug 29, 2010

What is a SEO? Picking their brains (websites)!


I become very curious once in a while.  I kept seeing this acronym in relationship to promoting blog traffic.  SEO STRATEGIES So I did the research and wrote this article on hub pages.  I thought you might be interested.  
 What is a SEO? Picking their brains (websites)!


Aug 18, 2010

Small Space Room Design...multifuncition is the key!

Behold the iPad in All Its GloryThe iPhone also includes  a Kindle...more than one use for this piece of technology.Image via WikipediaNote:  For added information of inexpensive living after retirement go to: Resort Living in Tucson AZ

What young people know about their iPhone and iPad is a lesson we can all use for all parts of our life...nothing should have only one use!  So what is so different about our furniture? 

Whether it is a modern living room design or any other room in the house we need to make  the best use of the space we have.  While having a beautiful space is important the old saying form should follow function could not be more true in this case.  With the right combination of furniture and storage units we can live in a small space without sacrificing comfort or beauty.
Motor Home multifunction space!
Lets say, for example, a small dining table or hutch area is transformed into a desk area with hidden or beautiful containers for letters, bills and tech equipment.  Big box stores and stores like Marshall's or Home Goods carry wonderful decorator and storage items at a reasonable price.  If you buy your computer with the idea that it can be stowed easily when you need that area for entertaining or even to rest your eyes, it is possible without covering the bed with "stuff".  Even by repurposing what you already have, you can begin putting the "multifunctional" into your space.
We have converted a pantry in our kitchen into a small office area where I keep my laptop computer for reference purposes.  A small desk chair slips in under the desk when not in use.  That space is used for a art table when grandchildren visit and if I had children they would do their homework in the kitchen with me as I prepared meals.

The seating in any room can serve more than one purpose.  In a small living room ottomans can convert into a side table with the use of trays.  That same ottoman can be used as seating even at the dining table if it is the right height. (I have an ottoman with legs.  I remove them for everyday use and just screw them back on when I need an extra chair at the table.)

For the guest bedroom space in your home there are even chairs that convert into small beds for visiting children.  Ikea has one that I have actually used.  I found it to be very comfortable even after using it for 5 nights in a row.  A couch coupled with a Murphy wall bed is on the market and is sometimes called a Euro Bed System.  They are put out by SICO.  You can even purchase the Murphy bed hardware separately.  We used one of the Murphy wall bed in the couch designs when we rented a condo last year and it was so comfortable it could have served as our everyday bed at home nicely.  We have considered putting one of these in our park model in Arizona.  Then our bedroom could serve more than one function.

So multifunction is the key word here.  Young techies know it and so should we.  Nothing that we buy should serve only one purpose.
I just thought you would want to know.
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Aug 15, 2010

Do you need travel insurance....the worst can happen, even to you!

People ParkImage by Always at Home via Flickr
Shanghai China by b
I asked my daughter-in-law to give me the ultimate travel tip the other day. She and my son travel around the world as international educators teaching in Shanghai and putting on workshops for the Apple Corporation in Singapore. Her answer caught me by surprise...Expect the worse was her answer. I had no idea that she felt that much could go wrong because they seem to fly off into the unknown without a thought or fear. EXPECT THE WORSE made me stop in my tracks!

So, what is the worse? Then it began coming back to me...all those stories I had hear from friends. I had even forgotten our very own horror stories. She is entirely right. When we expect the worse, we prepare for it and life can go on while we are on vacation.

I have had my passport stolen by a gypsy in Spain. We were sitting in a restaurant in Plaza Major drinking a beer when a lady walked by with a baby swaddled in a shawl over her shoulder. The purse was gone when I got up to leave. I did not even see it disappear. My passport was gone as well as one of our credit cards. (Thankfully we had been smart enought to make copies of the Passport and had left a credit card in the hotel safe.) In the police station I went to so I could report the theft, a German man sat next to me. He was shaken because a thief had held a knife to his throat demanding his money. The only thing he had left was his cell phone!

A friend of mine waited as her father was evacuated from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean after suffering a stroke. Hurricanes have interrupted other peoples trips as have family illness that did not allow them to leave on the appointed day. We knew people caught without insurance after 9/11 and had to sacrifice vacation money they had saved for a retirement trip because they were scheduled to go into what had become a war zone. Many years ago we were caught on the East coast of the USA after the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island malfunctioned and United Airlines went on strike.  On that same trip I caught the flu on the first few days of the trip.  If there had been anyway that I could have come home early I would have.
My husband and I scheduled a trip to Mexico for November to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We bought trip cancellation insurance because we are not young anymore. We have come to realize the dreaded "worst" can happen even to us.  Do some research and see if you might need to think about insurance.  If you are taking the trip of a lifetime and you have been saving for years to pay for this very costly trip, you might consider some kind of insurance.   After all it just makes good sense.


Read more at Travel Insurance for Dummies or always expect the worst!
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Aug 12, 2010

Frugal Texas Gal: Going Off the Reservation

I thought you might enjoy reading Frugal Texas Gal's blog.  Here is the link:

Frugal Texas Gal: Going Off the Reservation: "It seems that in the next week or so I will be breaking my ever so limited budget, and more than a couple times. Usually when I jump off th..."

Why Hear Aids...I'm deaf and my family was suffering!

The neighbors said if we weren't going to watch the
Cubs we needed to turn the TV off!
     As the younger set would say OMG!!! I am now the proud owner of two, not just one, but two hearing aids!!!  Did I tell you I need them?  Well I do.  My hearing is less than 2/3 of what it should be and the TV in our house was blaring so loud our neighbor, Tom, knew what our taste in TV was and did not necessarily agree with us.
     If you or your husband had a pair of hearing aids several years ago and found they were more of a problem than a help, I totally understand.   The old hearing aids  were not good in crowds, the listening device was big and unsightly and the ear pieces hurt your ears no matter what the tech did to them. You are probably so disillusioned you think you cannot or will not wear them ever again. My husband fought getting new ones for that very reason!  He finally conceded that he needed help.  Soon after he was fitted with his he sent me to get tested too.  Now I am urging you to give the new hearing aids a try.   I think you will be happy with the results.  In Oregon we can return them within 30 days if we don't want them.  I don't see how you could go wrong.
    Hearing loss takes a toll on you but it is the people around you who suffer.  Loud talking, embarrassed missed verbal cues and withdrawal because the person with the hearing loss cannot understand are only a few of the things that are a problem for the wife or husband.  The family will be frustrated when the person with the loss claims "they hear better than anyone realizes" because they don't recognize the depth of their problem.  I had a friend say once that it was not fair to the wife/husband when the partner did not get help for hearing loss.  I think the statement is absolutely true.
     Fitting the hearing aids takes very little time and the technology for fitting them just for your needs is absolutely amazing.  I was astounded when I put mine on and had no feeling of them being very loud or amplifying the background noise.  I simply could hear better.  I know I was talking very loud and I could even feel my voice volume going down.  It was just wonderful.
     So, how did the cost for these babies add up.  I know that is what you are asking so let's just cut right to the chase.  Costco...what can I say!  They are less expensive with no pressure to buy or not buy because the guy that does the testing and fitting is NOT on commission. Because our hearing loss is so profound,  my husband and I went with the most expensive Costco had to sell in the ReSound line.  At $2500 for two hearing aids, we both thought is was a bargain.   We were both fitted with ReSound hearing aids designed for people with profound to mild hearing loss.   They are very comfortable with soft ear buds or a soft fitted ear piece.  I chose a black aid that fits behind the ear with a soft wire and ear bud that goes in the year.  My glasses have black temples over the ear and you absolute would not know I even had them on.
      I see that Costco has a Kirkland brand hearing aids too.  If I were you, I would ask what you really need so you can compare and see if they might work.  But I do love the ReSound ones.  Believe me it is as though the world is tuned in again.  I am thrilled and my family is relieved!  Even my granddaughter is delighted!
      I wanted to give you a word of encouragement if you were undecided...people around you will be so grateful!
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Aug 9, 2010

8 VALUABLE Tips for All Thing Frugal...from someone that knows!

Photos enlarged become beautiful art work!  by Barbara
If you are retired you have all been around the block many times.  Your pool of living wisdom is so deep and wide it can overwhelm.  That is why I have hesitated to WRITE about living frugally...I am sure you all have tips to share with me!  So I have decided I will share with you and you can share with me.  It seems only fair. (Leave a comment and I will add your idea to the list along with your website link.)

  1. CLOTHES SHOPPING  I learned a sweet secret when I was very young and thin.  Those days are long gone but this secret has been invaluable to building a wardrobe on a budget.  Sales are wonderful but if you shop for your size only your are missing the best bargains.  I just scored a beautiful pair of Eileen Fisher linen slacks last week for 75% off.  By looking on the rack of one size up and one size down, I will find very expensive clothes that are sized wrong or are made by a designer label that will cut clothes differently.  The last stop for those clothing is where you will find the best deals so go to a Nordstroms Rack or a store that is up scales in your city.  Shop in the clearance department.  You will be surprised.
  2. ENTERTAINING ON A BUDGET  If you are like me, you love to entertain in style...candles, table cloths, napkins, beautiful food.  The short version here is a list of the best places to find these items:  Dripless candles, Trader Joe's dripless candles are so cheap and beautiful.  They self extinguish and absolutely will not drip.  Table cloths can be a simple piece of fabric cut to a square....54" wide buy 54" of fabric. You can simply buy fabric glue or tape and iron a hem.    Napkins that look like cloth but do not need to be washed.  Tuesday Morning has beautiful expensive paper napkins at a very low price.  Food can be elegant without breaking the bank...I love Sandra Lee's Semi- Homemade.  Always remember a small amount of something out of this world can be supplemented with basics like seasoned rice or quinoa and vegetables.
  3. DECORATING  Always remember paint is a lot cheaper than tearing out walls.  Design Remix on HGTV has wonderful ideas for using what you have to dress up a room.  But paint is cheap! especially if you go to the sale shelf at Home Depot.  True there are a lot of colors that you DON'T want or had never thought about.  Check every time you go in.   Basic white with a slight tint will be there occasionally and that is always a good choice.  PAINT CAN BE EVEN CHEAPER THAN YOU THOUGHT!
  4. TRAVEL AND EATING  First remember that most motels have wifi now and your computer is going to be your friend.  If you don't travel with one, most motels have a computer station in the lobby that you can use.  Take advantage of the information a search like best food in Seattle can show you.  This is so basic but sometimes we forget how travel can be affordable.  Seniors generally don't eat as much as a construction worker...going to the truck stop is not a good health choice and is probably not a good value.  This is what I think.  Breakfast does not break the bank but it can smash a healthy diet.  Bacon and eggs is not a good choice at least not every day.  A quick visit to the grocery will get you what you need...yogurt, fruit and a whole wheat bagel.  Or stay at a motel that serves these things as part of the price of the room.  I think lunch is the meal we should eat as our main meal.  The lunch menu always less and has basically the same dishes as the high priced dinner meal.  You can eat at a nice restaurant with good service for a lot less.  I think that happy hour at up scale restaurants makes good sense for your evening meal.  You can order a soda or iced tea if you don't drink wine and buy a happy hour item or even two, be well nourished and not break the bank. The thing to remember here is that a mixed drink can be expensive so check on the happy hour specials.   Besides that you can get dressed up if you want so elegance has not flown out the truck stop window. Most restaurants are willing to split a meal for you is you desire.   Remember to check online for Groupon and  We eat for 1/2 at some very nice places.
  5. RECREATION is a great place to find discount golf at the last minute.  If you are traveling most motels have a computer station somewhere.  Give it a look before you book that full price golf outing.  You will not feel like a dope when you check in and find the guy next to you is paying a lot less than you because he booked a tee time online fifteen minutes later than you.  There are other similar sites that work just a well.  Sometimes local websites have great deals.
  6. BIG PURCHASES There are some things that just take your breath away.  A car purchase for example.  I am not as good at this sort of thing as most people.  For example, we have gotten a lemon car before and traded it in as soon as we could.  So I don't like to buy second hand.  I know someone else bought that AWFUL car!  We purchased a new car this spring and saved quite a bit by going to our credit card website to see if they had any tips.  It turns out that American Express card company has agreements with car dealers fora discount which turned out to be their bottom line.  It saved us the pain of dealing with the back and forth of dealing and put money in our pocket.  Look it up, find your car and ask your car salesman if they participate.  Go away if they deny you.  It is in everyone's best interest so I can't imagine them turning you down.  IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK! 
  7. ALWAYS BARGAIN...WHAT IS THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?  We have traveled to countries where bargaining is a part of all shopping experiences.  We have learned that the bargain is simply in the asking.  Cash will give you a discount for furniture...but you need to ask.  While Starbucks won't bargain with you, a barista may sell cups for less if you buy more than one.  IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!  I have grinned or chuckled with all sorts of merchants because I was not afraid to ask...the answer may be NO but who cares.  Life is too short to be too serious!
  8. SHOP FOR QUALITY NOT QUANTITY  We all have our quirks.  Mine happens to be an aversion to cute rate stores.  I have found that in the end I usually paid more because the merchandise was shoddy and I needed to replace things long before I should have. I don't know about you but I like for the things I buy to last a while.  Buying cheap is a lot different than buy very good quality for less.  I much prefer to buy expensive sheets that don't match from the sale table.  I have done this all my adult life because I love beautiful things and I was a teacher.  Teachers do not get rich!

There you go...8 tips from a frugal but stylish shopper!
Note:  This list may grow...check back later!

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Aug 5, 2010

Downsizing meets Technology or learning from the college student dorm room!

I love when a plan begins to come together. Take living in a small space/downsizing because of aging and its relationship to going high tech and compare it to the college student and their first ever home of their own.  If at all possible both of these groups want a space that is beautiful and comfortable.  But don't think that a small space being cool looking is going to replace the technology students need to function in a their dorm rooms or small apartments.

Now let's think about you and I moving into a small apartment. The decor may need to be good but it is not going to be enough. Just like the college student, we will need our space to function as a high tech space too. Now all the technology assisted living facilities are using is being offered by vendors to homeowners. It is very exciting.

Retro Small Space
So it seems that college students and downsizing seniors have a lot in common. They both want their space to be beautiful and high tech. Living like a college student, like our old furniture, is back on style again. Technology and downsizing! Who knew!

The picture on the right made me seems that all that stuff we lived with as young adults is in again. We could actually use those things and be very cool...if we hadn't traded it in 45 years ago!  I  owned a stereo and clock just like these.  The computer monitor looks perfectly at home don't you think?

Keeping track with a bulletin board!
Retire in Style Blog offered an article on low cost organizationing. As I was reading the article it hit me how important writing things down is as we get older. College students have nothing on us in this regard. My mother kept a calendar that looked like the typewriter had run amok on it. When I saw this bulletin board I thought it might work better than the calendar did for my mom.

Chalk board painted wall from Unplgged
I like the new chalkboard paint that can be painted on just about any surface even better. It looks good and serves a useful purpose.  The paint is available in a variety of colors so can be matched to any decor. There is a magnetic primer that you can apply your chalkboard paint over and get a multipurpose use for the wall. I actually think I will try this myself.  Keeping track of a busy life can be very hectic...especially when you are past 70 (smile)!  Just give me my chalkboard and a little technology and I am good! I'm feeling younger already.

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